If you listened to Monday’s RaptorBlog Radio podcast, you already know that this is my last day as an employee of theScore, and this will be my last post on RaptorBlog for the foreseeable future. I would never say never in terms of ever writing for this blog again, because I have great affection for this company and for the guys who are taking over this blog. It just so happens that I’m starting a new job with another media company next month, and it would be pretty awkward if I continued to contribute here after that point.

The gracious thing for me to do would be to express great regret that I will be no longer covering the Raptors after 10 years of devoting a significant portion of my life doing so, but I’m choosing honesty over grace in this post. The truth of the matter is that when I consider what it will be like to no longer feel obligated to watch every Raptors game and express my opinions about them, I feel nothing. This franchise has finally sapped my will to give a crap about it.

When I started this blog 10 years ago, I wasn’t motivated by diehard fandom. The Raptors were definitely my favorite sports team at the time, but I was really motivated by what I saw as a market opportunity. I wanted to find a way to break into the sports media business, and when I saw the quantity and passion of Raptors fans online and compared that to the pathetic coverage of this team in mainstream media, I said to myself, “I think I can give these people what they want.” How successful I was in that department is debatable, but here I am.

What isn’t debatable is that this franchise has been a miserable failure since I started RaptorBlog in October 2002. The Raptors only made the playoffs twice during that period, and they lost in the first round both times. I often joke that I cursed the franchise when I started this blog. The joke has grown old, and so has my will to get outraged over all the things that have pissed off Raptors fans in the past decade. Too many of those frustrations show no signs of going away, and I’m tired of pointing out problems that almost everybody except for the employees of this franchise seem capable of understanding — or willing to change because ongoing profitability makes those changes unnecessary.

It wasn’t the ongoing incompetence that destroyed my passion for this team, it was the tolerance for that incompetence. From the players to the coaches to the front office, it’s become increasingly clear that the Toronto Raptors are doomed to indefinite irrelevance as long as they can continue to make money with bread and circuses. Every sports fan has their own relationship with their favorite sport and team, but I prefer to treat sports as a fun distraction from the daily grind that most of us have to endure to make ends meet and get out of bed every morning. This team ceased to serve that purpose for me a long time ago, so I plan to go forward with an approach to sports where I watch whatever games interest me most on that particular day. Most of the time, Raptors games are only interesting to the masochistic diehard fans who inexplicably revel in complaining about the outrage du jour after another loss.

I used to fantasize about how cool it would be to write about the exquisite relief of the Raptors finally winning an NBA championship. I now recognize what a sad and unrealistic fantasy that was. Even when exciting new players like Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas join the roster, the Raptors somehow continue to marinate in fail-sauce one way or another. I’m tired of stressing out about this team — I have far more important things to worry about.

I remain extremely grateful for all the readers and commenters who validated my egotistical belief that I had something to say about this team that was at least as worthwhile as the guys getting paid for their opinions. I plan to remain active on Twitter and while I won’t watch every Raptors game going forward, you can be sure my morbid curiosity will compel me to check out my old flame from time to time. As always, I’ll never be shy in giving my opinion on any topic you want to bounce off me.

This blog will live on in the extremely capable hands of Joseph Casciaro and Oliver Macklem. They’re smart, passionate sports journalists and they’re far more knowledgeable about the NBA than I was at their age. I thoroughly enjoyed working with them and I’ll be thrilled if one of them gets to write the championship post I always dreamed of writing.

Later today, after I hand in my laptop, my cell phone and my pass card to theScore management, I’ll join some of my soon-to-be-ex-Score colleagues at Shoeless Joe’s at 276 King Street West in Toronto. If you’d like to drop by and say hello and commiserate with me about the woeful state of being a Raptors fan, you know I’ll be a friendly ear.

I’ve rambled long enough. My self-indulgence does have some limits, believe it or not. I’ll close by saying that I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for all of you, but I do know my life would be a lot more boring. Mahalo.

Comments (43)

  1. Best of luck Scott. My family is touched with autism as well, but indirectly.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your words all these years, you are truly a fan of the game, and a hopeless romantic, as am I.
    Take care Scott.

  2. Ah the Michael Jordan exit speech! Refreshing in the amount of honesty and will definitely leave a lasting impression, however many will criticize it for a perceived lack of gratitude for the readers that supported your blog for 10 year (even though it is still here, just not as explicit).

    Needless to say I am fan of the post, like the rest you’ve made.

    Good luck in the future Scott!

  3. Good luck old friend. I will miss you online. Thankfully I will continue to see you IRL. And maybe get you out to another Raptor game.

    PS. Your sentiments of disdain are shared.

  4. Good luck, Scott. :) Yours was the first ‘blog’ I started reading, outside the regular newspapers. All the best!

  5. Just read the article about your son, Scott. Wow. I was an EA for years and have spent (as I still do) most of my life working with developmentally disabled youth. So happy to hear Max is doing well. :)

  6. Wow – I remember you once saying you would sel the rights to this blog for $100,000.00

  7. Long time troller first time commenter. Live long and prosper

  8. Good luck Scott. Have enjoyed the blog for many years but it looks like you’ve left it in good hands.

  9. This blog fucking sucked.
    COXY2012.

  10. Scott,

    Well, let me say that it was your blog, along with the several awesome commenters (I’m looking at you PBI!) that made the pathetic state of the raps bearable these last few years. The mainstream media coverage has improved slightly, via Grange and Chisholm, but most coverage in the sun/star/globe still appears on the 5th page of the sports section and reads mostly like an AP piece. And while other blogs are quite good, my idea of hell would be a world where I have to read Doug’s blog 10 times each morning. In fact, you may, indirectly, have made MLSE a pile of money simply by keeping fans like me interested enough in the sport, via your blog, to not have echoed this exact post 5+ years ago, and become, I don’t know, a soccer fan instead.

    Sometimes I despair at the lack of independent analysis and honesty on any media coverage, and I’m sure that whatever you cover next will help me believe that some journalists maintain that simply writing fluff pieces (‘my 5 favorite places to drink beer in Milwaukee’) or reading from ideological script passes for journalism.

    All that is simply a heartfelt ‘Thanks’ for your efforts, passion and intelligence on Raptors coverage, and best of luck at your next position.

  11. Best of luck Scott and thanks for all the blogs. I’ve reading and lurking since the very beginning, yours was the first sports blog I ever read. Hope your personal and professional lives work out well for you in the future.

  12. I really don’t like this shakeup of the Score, first TBJ can’t do court surfing, they previously started losing some key people and now you as well. Best of luck with everything going forward

  13. You are not Hunter S. Thompson. “Mahalo” basically sums up the entire history of this blog.

  14. Unfortunately, the kind of honesty seen in your post has been mostly severely lacking in the media, probably because writers don’t want to alienate the organization and become persona non grata when they are dependant on access.

    Good luck in your new career. You’ve been one of the Raptors I’ve enjoyed reading and your articles will be missed.

  15. How fitting is it that even your goodbye post basically morphed into a “State of the Raptors” column?

    What a way to go out.

    Thanks again and good luck with your future gig.

  16. Good luck Scott,
    This blog is my first stop after each game for Raptor reaction.
    Thank you

  17. Best of luck, longtime reader who started posting this season.

    And yes, they do stink and don’t deserve us to care. In fact, I have been listening to Celtics and Knicks games on the radio for years now. As an east coast guy, they’re closer to my house than those miserable Raptors will ever be.

  18. I’ve been following raptorblog since almost day one, always loved the way you could make a wild and contentious assertion, then somehow back it up with what can only be described as NBA logic and interesting stat analysis’ that nobody else could even think of.
    Best regards to you and your family.

  19. Scott, thanks for your take on the Raptors, and the solid forum for discussion you’ve provided for so long.

    Shared sorrow is indeed half sorrow.

    All best to you and yours.

  20. Scott, thanks so much for providing your insights and analysis over the years. It has been enjoyable following along and occasionally participating in the forums / comments sections. It’s interesting to hear your motives for creating the Blog and I’m glad it has served your career well while also providing a much-needed alternative to the main stream media “analysis”.

    All the best and thanks for leaving it in good hands!

  21. I wrote my thank you piece on your exit in that other post, but I’m calling you out on your farewell blast. Part of me sympathizes, as every time I find myself getting upset over the Raps I remind myself that there is no use in caring about a team that ownership cares far less about. No sane person should invest any real emotional energy into a franchise that constantly rewards incompetence and only cares about the bottom line, never mind that there are so many more important things to worry about like our children, poverty, wars, etc. etc.

    But sports are a welcome escape from the real stuff that is often so unpleasant, and we shouldn’t apologize for that. Unfortunately this is the only sports team I care about, and if we all just say fuck it, the team disappears. I’d rather have an NBA team in Canada at the end of the day. I deserve better, you deserve better, and so does every fan that helps make these jerkoff owners and GMs so rich. This fanbase, whatever its warts, is amazing. I take more pride in that “MS Paint Sam a playbook” post on RealGM, or TurboZone’s amazing work, than anything this team has accomplished on the court.

    We need more dissent, not less, and it needs to be louder.

    So yeah, I would beseech you to continue calling a spade a spade, even if it’s just from Twitter or wherever…even if we’re just voices crying out against the night, I’ll take that over a world where the Doug Smiths of the world are the only voices out there. That’s so pre-2002.

    All the best.

  22. your blog used to be the best in the early days, but it was obvious your passion died out and i don’t blame you….but sorry haven’t read one of your posts for years

  23. Hey Scott, thanks for all the good reads over the years. In the first couple post-Vince years, when the Raptors were mind-shatteringly awful, your blog was fantastic. You really captured the love-hate relationship between fans and the franchise. I didn’t want to read about the Raptors – I wanted to read about how terrible they were, and you dished it out with sarcasm and sneer. While all the media outlets just blew sunshine, you wrote intelligently about the actual state of the team and made it entertaining.

    Thanks for everything. Good luck in your future endeavours.

  24. wow this is too bad..you were one of the best

    Still waiting foe the day when the headline in the torStar reads

    “Star fires doug smith , gets real basketball writer”

    yes hell is having to read this lush a total disgrace to his profession

  25. Scott, you’ll be missed, really liked your honest take on the Raps over this last, depressing decade.

    One parting request: draft an epic Andrea Bargnani Shit List entry for Deadspin. It’s meant to be a “celebration of the NBA’s most infuriating players, both past and present”. None of the people they’ve covered so far touch Il Mago’s ability to single-handedly suck the life out of an NBA franchise.

    • Good idea. I just pitched it to them. It’s a long shot, but I doubt anyone is more qualified than I am to spew vitriol about Il Mago.

  26. I stopped reading your blog many years ago, not because it sucked but because I had already had enough with the Raptors.

    What really killed the joy (beyond the losing) was the loss of Chuck Swirsky to Chicago. Even when the team sucked, I’d stick to the broadcast cuz of Swirsky’s energy and naive optimism. After he left, I didn’t care anymore.

    Good luck.

  27. “It wasn’t the ongoing incompetence that destroyed my passion for this team, it was the tolerance for that incompetence.”

    Well written!

    Best wishes in the future!

  28. Enjoyed all your work. I rarely get to catch a raps game because of work or side commitments, but RaptorBlog and TBJ always kept me in the loop the last 5 years. I’d like to thank you for all your work. And I hope every goes well with Max and you family. Be well and hope to cross paths one day.

    Thanks again :)

  29. Your absolutely rite about the state of this tires orginization. I’ve been a raptor fan for almost 10 years so I know pain as well its to the point now just like yourself I don’t care anymore. I use to watch every game check every stat and every interview but over the years it all sounds the same blah blah blah all the raptors have ever done for me besides the odd good game is be a HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I can’t take it any more.

  30. Your absolutely rite about the state of this terrable orginization. I’ve been a raptor fan for almost 10 years so I know pain as well its to the point now just like yourself I don’t care anymore. I use to watch every game check every stat and every interview but over the years it all sounds the same blah, blah, blah all the raptors have ever done for me besides the odd good game is be a HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I can’t take it any more I’m done. #jumpingontheknicksbandwagon.

  31. Thanks for your time and dedication Scott,

    I wish the best to you and yours going forward. Like many comments above, yours was the first of many great blogs I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been paying attention to the Raptors since before Alvin’s basket. I took the last few seasons p/t, as you describe in your post, but was excited this year by the potential of Jonas and Lowry, but I already feel beat down again by the habitual losing.

  32. Been reading your blog since the moment I first got a computer, and I love you man.

    In a market where all the media attention is with the hockey world, I looked forward to reading your blog after every game.

    I really wish you the best going forward… you’ll be missed around here.

  33. bye bye bitch…..youre a goof and the real fans dont need your lame ass….stay off the bandwagon btw.

  34. It sucks that you are able to be so brutally honest about the raptors, and are now leaving. Toronto media doesn’t give the team and the city enough shit to spread the wildfire. Toronto media will continue to lolly around our garbage team in order to what, not piss off mgmt for some reason? fuck that.

    gl to you.

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  36. I don’t say this often to bloggers but judging from this article, you can write!

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